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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Burrard and beyond

Now that the Yuk Yuk's at the Century Plaza Hotel on Burrard St. has closed down, is club comedy dead in the city until they open their new location at an undisclosed time and place later this year? Not at all.

The former Yuk Yuk's will re-open on June 1 as The Comedy MIX, according to co-owner Mario Cocchia. They're just three days into the transition and a media blitz will happen shortly, but in the meantime, Cocchia tells me, "We'll continue to provide a ProAm show Tuesday aimed at developing local comics. Wednesdays we'll showcase local professional comics and Thursday through Saturday we will be featuring the best comics from North America and beyond."

I gotta say, as a comedy consumer, I love it! I know each spot – Yuks and the MIX – will want to bury the other one, but I think competition is great for the market. In the past, when a new kid on the block has tried to go up against Yuks, they've always failed because they don't have the deep pockets of the national chain, or the infrastructure. And it's always tough getting the word out and getting people to go somewhere new. But in this situation, the old Yuks will be the new MIX. People are already used to going to the Century Plaza Hotel for comedy. If the new club manages to bring in good acts, put on a good show and provide a decent entertainment option for folks, they should be able to keep a good portion of the clientele who have been going there for years already. And Yuk Yuk's has the money and clout to get fans to their new location, wherever it may be. They'll do a big media splash, take out regular ads, and put on promotions, and soon people will find them. They have the advantage of a brand name, too, so when tourists are looking for a night out for comedy, they'll look up "Yuk Yuk's".

So conceivably two clubs in the city can, and should, work. It works in Edmonton and Calgary so why not here? Let's get ready to rumble!

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